Pasta ahead of Time

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I am cooking spaghetti for my church. I will be serving around 100 people. I would like to know if spaghetti noodles can be cooked ahead of time and placed in a warmer until serving? What would be the best way to prepare the spaghettii noodles and keeping them hot until time to serve? This will be the entree. How many noodles should I cook?
 
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If you try to hold pasta for long it will overcook and be mushy.  You can cook the pasta ahead of time by under cooking it toss it with a little oil then cool and store.  Have a pot of boiling water ready when you want to serve.  Put the pasta in the water for a short time and serve immediately.  Be very aware of food safety.   Read about the danger zone for foods.  Have fun.
 
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Thank you for your response. Somebody told me...pasta can be cooked undercooking it, covered in water, and stored in plastic bags until serving. Take it out of the bags, pour hot water over the pasta, and serve immediately. I was told not to add any oil. Have you heard this?
 
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No I have not.  I would think storing it in water would make the pasta mushy.  If you use the oil method the oil rinses of when you reheat.
 
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You can cook ahead 15-20 minutes and hot hold. Drain well, toss with olive oil and grated Parmesan. [like the stuff in the green can)
Did this for years when catering.
 

kuan

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Thank you for your response. Somebody told me...pasta can be cooked undercooking it, covered in water, and stored in plastic bags until serving. Take it out of the bags, pour hot water over the pasta, and serve immediately. I was told not to add any oil. Have you heard this?
Yes.  About 40 years ago people used to do this.
 
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You didn't say how many sauces you were making, but if it just one you can reheat the pasta in the sauce then it will be "dressed".  
 
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If pre-cooking less than an hour before service, then I would guess you can hot hold.  

If pre-cooking earlier in the day, or even days ahead, cook until there is still just a little bite to the noodle.  If you bite through, you should still see a slight bit of uncooked white in the middle.  Drain, a bit of oil, keep tossing to cool, refrigerate.  Reheat by dropping portions into boiling water.  It should reheat withing a couple of minutes.

Whatever you do, do not store in bags of water.  It will absorb the water and be mushy.
 
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I prepared pasta ahead of time and ready to eat.  I rinsed in cold water, stored in plastic bags in refrigerator without using oil.  We  took it out of the refrigerator and reheated with boiling water.   People were telling me the spaghetti and sauce was great.  I cooked 24 pounds of spaghetti noodles...had a lot leftover. I cooked 38 quarts of sauce. Plenty of sauce left for lasagna.  I will definitely make spaghetti noodles  ahead of time again.  Thank you all for the responses.  I will definitely be in touch for help in the future.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
 
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I know it is a bit late, but I was just wondering: Could you cook it, store it and reheat in a steamer?
 

norcalbaker59

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I always cook extra noodles when I make pasta. After rinsing and draining well I lightly coat with olive oil then refrigerate. to reheat, I simply toss noodles in boiling water for about 45 seconds, drain and add sauce.

I use about 3 to 4 ounces of noodles per adult. The packages states a pound will serve 8, but people usually eat a lot more than the stated serving portion.

Gotta say when it comes to spaghetti, it's always better mixed with sauce and refrigerated overnight. Nothing like standing in front of the open fridge, eating cold spaghetti right out of the pot:).
 
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Is it just me or does anybody else hear fingernails scratching on a blackboard when somebody calls spaghetti "noodles"? Maybe it's my Italian heritage and the area where I am but spaghetti is spaghetti, any other shape is macaroni and the stuff that you make lasagna with is pasta sheet or strips, not noodles.

When you make chicken soup then you use noodles.

And yes, I know these are all pasta but that's also overused by people who want to sound sophisticated. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
 
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norcalbaker59

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Do they eat more or just put more on their plate?

mimi

Mimi,
Both actually. About six months back I meticulously weighed out 2 oz person (dry weight, rotini). I served in the bowls I normally use, which is a standard cereal bowl. It looked like a child's portion. But I served it anyway, with a side salad of mixed baby greens, apples, and feta. It didn't look like enough and it wasn't. I learned when the potion looks small, you eat more because psychologically you feel deprived.

That extra ounce of pasta in the bowl isn't necessarily that much more filling, but psychologically it is significantly more satiating by virtue of its size. It made me realize the complexity of eating--there's a lot more meaning to the saying "we eat with our eyes first."

A bit off topic here, but a segue into the next thought on portion....diet for weight loss was the reason I meticulously weighed the pasta. Portion size is often cited as a cause for increased obesity. I certainly believe it plays a role, but I'm not convinced it is the overwhelming factor in obesity. I think the move away from whole foods to processed foods and a sedentary work and overall lifestyle are the major contributing factors.

When I adhere to a whole food diet and workout six days a week, I'll easily consume 3500-4000 calories a day. Yet my weight will maintain at 112 pounds. If I drop my caloric intake to 1200 - 1500 calories per day and consume foods high carbs and sugar, my weight will balloon to nearly 200 pounds--even with regular, but not extremely strenuous exercise. My son, a powerlifter and coach, insists calories in calories out. Which is really about portion to expended energy. But I find the quality of those calories makes the difference between 112 pounds and 200 pounds!
 

norcalbaker59

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Is it just me or does anybody else hear fingernails scratching on a blackboard when somebody calls spaghetti "noodles"? Maybe it's my Italian heritage and the area where I am but spaghetti is spaghetti, any other shape is macaroni and the stuff that you make lasagna with is pasta sheet or strips, not noodles.

When you make chicken soup then you use noodles.

And yes, I know these are all pasta but that's also overused by people who want to sound sophisticated. ;)



Are you from New York? All my New York friends call all pasta "macaroni". My best friend even calls spaghetti macaroni. The first time she told me she "put up a pot" for macaroni, I was expecting mac & cheese. She served spaghetti with marinara sauce. On the west coast, we use noodles or pasta--except when it's stuffed or baked. I think noodles is also generational. Growing up in the 60's or before, noodles was the term used. On the west coast. Macaroni is the "elbow macaroni" used in mac & cheese--and to string for Christmas tree garland;)


When I took classes in Italy, they called all it all pasta since it was all the same dough. We'd make large batches of dough, then use it to make everything from fettuccine, ravioli, lasagna, to spaghetti. Some we colored with spinach, squid ink, and tomato. One of the top chefs at the culinary school was Chinese American; classically trained in French and Itaian, he called it pasta and noodles.

We always call Asian noodles, noodles. Asian noodles are never called pasta, but I've heard some people call Asian noodle "Asian spaghetti".

What baffles me is the term "egg noodles" for pasta. ive read that egg noodles have more egg than pasta. But in the years I've made pasta, I've found the flour absorbency is what it is. You can't make the flour absorb more egg.
 
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Worked in popular pizza place...many moons ago.
SPAGHETTI was pre cooked aND portioned....
We gave them a quick dunk in hot water...and out! The strainer was set just above the pot.
We gave the noodles a Shake. ...on the plate....sauce toppled over...and boom...all out and ready to serve.
 

norcalbaker59

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HalB, lol...there ya go...pizza is a pie and a hot dog ain't worth eating unless it's a Papaya King:)))).
 
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